"Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess." Deuteronomy 5:33 (NIV)
As I took a walk in our neighborhood today...in order to physically live and prolong my days by doing the healthy thing, God whispered His desire for me to ponder some precepts so that I may spiritually live and prosper and prolong my days in the land that He gives.
Though our neighborhood is small, it has a couple of nice hills to make the walk a little more challenging. I try to start out boldly and tackle the biggest hill first. I must admit, today it was a bit of a struggle. My calves and shins burned. I got really out of breath. My heart rate definitely picked up. Not that I would even begin to compare this with the walk up to Jerusalem, but it was neat to think about propelling myself on by singing a "song of ascent." I could definitely relate to the Psalmist who wrote, "I lift up my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from?" I came home and savored the remainder of Psalm 121, which says, "My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip-He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber or sleep. The Lord watches over you-the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, not the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm-He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Mmmm, what comfort and encouragement.
And I could surely relate to the "shade at [my] right hand." I got off to a late start with my walk and it was already getting hot. The sun was beating down. Our neighborhood is fairly new and there aren't many shade trees near the sidewalk. When I reached the one (that I can particularly remember), I slowed my pace and enjoyed a brief moment of cooling. I thought about being the "apple of His eye" and feeling respite in the "shadow of His wings." (Ps. 17:8) And a wonderful thing about His shadow is that, unlike the shadow of that little tree, which grows and shrinks with the moving of the sun, we can learn from James 1:17 that "Every good and perfect gift (even a little shade or a cool breeze) is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." Mmmm, He never changes. He loves us unfailingly.
After lots of sweating, I arrived at home...very thirsty. As I drank that cool, refreshing water, I thought, "Oh Lord, I want to be that thirsty for You and for Your Word." I shared in David's sentiment from Psalm 63, "O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and Your glory. Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your Name I will lift up my hands." Mmmm, He satisfies.
Lord, thank You for putting Your love and Your beauty before us. Thank You for listening to our hearts and responding to our cries. Thank you for revealing your Spirit to us so tangibly.
Thank you for your comfort and encouragement. Thank you for being unchanging and unfailing. Thank you for satisfying. Please walk with us, guide us, "Show [us] the way [we] should go, for to You [we] lift up [our] souls." (Ps. 143:8b)